The FAA statement about the third day of Drone Registration Task Force deliberations is short and vague, stating that “The group also continues to gather data and analyze which types of UAS would need to be registered and which would not,” but some details of the proposed registration plans have been made public. Speaking anonymously about the closed sessions, several members of the task force told the Washington Post that the proposed plan would require the online registration of all drones weighing more than half a pound.
The free registration would take place on apps or through manufacturer’s websites, and retailers would not be responsible for registering drones at the point of sale. Having decided for privacy reasons to avoid asking for private identifiers such as a Social Security number, the registration would require only a drone operator’s name and address, enabling the FAA to track a drone that has violated regulations or been lost back to its owner. An e-mail address may be collected if the drone owner wished to receive updated information about drone regulations or educational initiatives.
Drones will also have to display a registration number that is clearly readable and easily accessible.
The news about hobby drones being included in the registration process comes as a surprise to some, who hoped that small operators would not have to participate. The registration task force is rushing to get their recommendations before the FAA by November 20. The FAA is not obligated to take the group’s recommendations; but will have little time to come up with an alternative plan. The FAA has said that they hope to have a registration system functioning before Christmas, when they expect over 1,000,000 small drones to be given as gifts.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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